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karira

Youth in Pune fights corruption using biggest yet silent weapon, RTI

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karira

As reported by Rajesh Rao in dnaindia.com on 02 April 2012:

Youth in Pune fights corruption using biggest yet silent weapon, RTI - Academy - DNA

 

Youth in Pune fights corruption using biggest yet silent weapon, RTI

 

Student of Pune-based MIT School of Government (MITSOG), Harshvardhan Reddy, who hails from Karni village in Mahabubnagar district in Andhra Pradesh, has kept the Right to Information (RTI) flag flying high by filing over 300 RTI applications along with over 200 first appeals within a short span of two years.

The first RTI application, Reddy said, was filed by him against the rural superintendent of police (SP) for delaying his passport application for over two years.

“I was made to visit the office many times and every time I got an excuse that my application was forwarded to the regional office, when it was not. I was not scared and went on to file a case against SP in the consumer forum and within six months I got my passport. I was just a 20-year-old engineering student and the SP threatened me to withdraw saying that I was the first in the state to have filed an RTI application in the SP office,” he said.

Reddy, 22, who belongs to a farming background, filed his first application in August 2009. By the time he came to Pune in September 2011 to study, Reddy had filed over 500 applications, which include RTI application and first appeals. “I was inspired by a local newspaper journalist to file an RTI application. I found the RTI tool very powerful to fight corruption in the government system and started using it for the benefit of villagers.”

“I have filed RTI applications in all the government offices that are concerned with our village, including an application with the HRD ministry office in Delhi,” said Reddy.

The RTI applications that Reddy has filed are with government-run banks for unnecessarily withholding loan applications of poor farmers, rural water supply office, revenue divisional office, district supply office for rice meals, ESI office, pollution control office, district water management agency, food inspector office, zilla parishad, district collectorate office and the revenue department for not issuing birth certificates, land record statements, passbooks, title deeds of land, which are documents needed by farmers to apply for bank loans.

Reddy said that he has achieved 90% success rate, which includes 60% after direct application and 30% after first appeal.

“The RTI is a very powerful tool to curtail corruption. More people, especially the youth, must come forward and file RTIs, if not for social at least for individual purpose,” said Reddy. Referring to Lokpal Bill, he stressed that no matter what bill is passed, only if the tool is used it serves the purpose.

With an urge to be a social activist since college days, Reddy said that he aspires to be a politician and bridge the gap between a leader and the public.

 

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